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4 Tips To Improve Your Front Crawl Swimming Technique

Front crawl is the fastest and most efficient swim stroke. Most people know the basics of front crawl: your arms alternate in a windmill like motion, your legs kick up and down, and your face is in the water, occasionally turning to the side to breathe. But learning a little more about the proper technique can save you a lot of energy in the pool!  

 

4 Tips To Improve Your Front Crawl Swimming Technique

 

Here are four tips that will fine-tune your technique, help you swim front crawl faster, and feel more confident in the water:

 

Slowly Exhale 

 

People often hold their breath underwater - forgetting that they can breathe out. 

 

Holding your breath causes carbon dioxide levels in the blood to rise. This results in a sudden and urgent need for oxygen. To prevent your body from panicking, exhale gradually underwater. This will make inhaling and swimming much easier.

 

Tip: Hum while you exhale. 

 

Take a deep breath in through your mouth and start to slowly exhale through your nose while humming. Humming will force you to exhale slowly. 

 

Face the Bottom

 

One of the most common mistakes when swimming front crawl is tilting your head up to look forward. We instinctively want to look where we are going, but lifting our chin causes our hips and legs to sink. Think of your body like a seesaw: if your head is up, your bum is down. And swimming is a lot harder when you have to tow the bottom half of your body. 

 

Instead, face straight down at the bottom of the pool, looking forward with only your eyes. The water line should be slightly above your goggles. 

 

Tip: Always keep one goggle in the water. 

 

Instead of lifting your head up before turning it to the side to breathe, only turn your head enough so that your mouth is out of the water. Keeping one eye in the water when you breathe will keep you from lifting your head (and dragging your body). 

 

Front Crawl Technique

 

Be Long and Lean

 

Water slows you down. Swim technique is all about enabling your body to move through the water with the least resistance and effort possible. 

 

The body position that lets you move through the water fastest is called streamline. Streamlining helps you achieve a better shape in the water and create less drag. It is the basic body position used in every swim stroke.

 

 

Practice streamline before you get in the water by making yourself as tall as you can, your legs together, your arms stretched high above your head, and your head in line with your body. 

 

Tip: Make your strokes long and narrow. 

 

Picture a hot knife, slicing through butter. That’s how you should feel in the pool: smooth, long, and streamlined.

 

Move the Water 

 

Most of your power and speed when swimming front crawl comes from one motion: starting in the streamline position, one hand pulls down underwater to your hip. 

 

Tip: While you are in the water, imagine your hands are paddles. 

 

You want to grab the water from above your head and push it down past your toes to propel you forward. 

 

Imagining your hands are paddles will make you think about how you are moving the water around you. It will remind you to finish your strokes by pulling all the way to your hip underwater.  

 

The last part of the stroke (the recovery) is getting your arm back to the streamline position with the least effort possible. You lift your hand from your hip, your arm exiting the water with your elbow bent towards the ceiling, to return your hand back to the starting streamline position. 

 

Another common mistake is to make your arm re-enter the water while it’s still bent and then extend it underwater to get back in streamline. But if you imagine your hands are paddles, you can visualise how this motion pushes water forward and pushes you backwards. 

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